Sports Notebook

Thursday, July 29, 2004


Elimimian glad UH
picked third in WAC

RENO, Nev. >> Abraham Elimimian is happy Hawaii was picked by the media to finish third in the Western Athletic Conference this football season.

"Everyone was asking me today if I thought the poll was right," Elimimian said. "Of course I told them, 'Yes, it is. I have great respect for Boise State and Fresno State.' "

The Warriors' senior cornerback said he was careful not to supply any incendiary wallpaper for the locker room walls of the conference contenders while being interviewed at the WAC Media Days yesterday.

"I think someone told me the team that was predicted to win has never won the league. If that's the case, I'm glad we weren't chosen," Elimimian said.

He knows all to well that the Warriors were picked to win last year and finished in a disappointing tie for fourth.

Another WAC selection process -- this one done by the coaches, not the media -- did bother Elimimian, as well as others who know his value to UH. He was left of the WAC all-conference first and second teams last year, despite being arguably the Warriors most consistently excellent player.

"I've gotten over that. It was kind of a maturity thing at the time, but now I know that really doesn't matter anyway. A lot of great players don't make all-conference teams," Elimimian said.

Carr revving up: Boise State senior rover Chris Carr was pleased with the poll, which predicts the Broncos will win their third-consecutive WAC championship.

"We've really deserved respect the previous two years. People are starting to recognize we're for real," he said. "Last year after we beat TCU in the bowl game, people in the Dallas airport were talking to us, they knew who we were."

Carr was one of the league's most versatile players last year. In addition to being fourth on the team in tackles (81), second in interceptions (4) and first in fumble recoveries (3), Carr was a special teams dynamo who returned kickoffs and punts at times.

In his senior year, he expects to serve as a gunner on the punt coverage team in addition to running back kicks.

Pinegar hungry: Now that Fresno State is healthy after an injury-filled 2003 season, junior quarterback Paul Pinegar is confident the Bulldogs can make a run for the WAC championship. They've won a share of the title three times, the latest being 1999, but the Bulldogs are tired of sharing.

"As a team, we're always near the top, but we haven't won an outright championship," Pinegar said. "Last year we were fortunate to finish 9-5. We beat up on some not very good teams.

"A big key for us is we're two-dimensional. We can run to set up the pass with play action," he said. "But the main thing is staying healthy."

Team guy: Texas-El Paso senior linebacker Robert Rodriguez was asked for his personal goals for the upcoming season following a 2003 performance in which he led the WAC with 135 tackles.

"I'm losing myself," he said. "My goal is just to be the middle linebacker on the best defense in the WAC. I'll gladly trade as many tackles as I have to if it means we improve as a team."

Coach speak: Today, the WAC's coaches were scheduled to brief the media. "New" coaches are Mike Price at UTEP and Chris Ault of Nevada. Ault is beginning his third stint as Wolfpack football coach.

The coaches' interviews are available via the WAC Web site.

Western Athletic Conference

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